Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Do we need to categorize dreams?It seems to me that most people should have the dream of "being rich" and then "doing nothing" type of dream, shouldn't they? All of us simply want to enjoy. Yet, this so-called dream of material richness, how attainable is it? I don't think there is >1% of the world population with enough money to warrant abundant life without working.On the other hand, there are, arguably, simpler dreams like having a good family, starting a business, becoming an outstanding chef, becoming an author, and so on and so forth. Then, there are wild dreams of basketballer wishing to be a singer, like the guy in High School Musical. All these are relatively easier to attain than a super broad dream like "becoming rich" aren't they?

It seems to me that there are 2 types of the so-called dream, one attainable, the other far far away type of dream. Where shall we draw the line?

Auto with breathalyser

If you like to drink driving, you won't buy a car that's equipped with breathalyser, will you?

If so, who will buy the Nissan that won't let someone to drive the car when the electronic system detect higher than permitted level of alcohol in the driver's breath?

Perhaps someone with really high willpower to stop drinking. Yet, if one is with willingness to stop drink driving, is there a need for him to buy the car? The willpower should be enough to prevent him from trying, I think.

So, where else can such a car be good? Hm.... car rental company?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Those advice you read

Nowadays there are tonnes of self improvements. There are also many advices laying around.

This morning, I read an article that teaches how to write a "good" resume. The gist is that one should sell oneself and give lots of good figures in the resume.

I have only one disqueting feeling about such advice. If one is good with the job, perhaps in sales, one shoudln't even need to reach such an advice to know how to boast and put the figures into place in the resume. Often it's only when one realized that one was without any extremely good things to write in resume that one look for advice. So, in such case, how can the article help??

Furthermore, the article that tell one to boast about this and that seems to fail in considering that the bulk of students is not super bright and only a small percentage of student gets good mark while having tonnes of leadership position + extracurricular activities.

There is a real mismatch of what you learn from university and what the real world is looking for. At school, life skills are not taught and academic lessons are not tailored to fit in to the industry. At graduation, many graduates are left in the lurch, not knowing what to do.

I guess human resource employees need to learn how to read feelings perhaps. Perhaps those fresh graduates with less figure to boast should learn pour forth the passion they feel about the jobs they apply and recruiters need to relearn the basic human feeling that people can learn and they should be given chance to learn. Perhaps the complain on the difficulty to find skilled worker that I often read nowadays lie in the lack of willingness to give fresh graduates chances to learn.

As I glance through job ads, so many advertisement are open for people with experiences of 3 years and above. It's as if people can get experience without starting afresh. In Singapore, opening for fresh graduate nowadays open mainly for insurance agents and private banking sector. I feel sad for the multitude so-so fresh graduates.


Heat wave in Shanghai, at 40 C. Heat wave in Romania, 12 ppl died and temp reaching 42+ C. On the other hand, flooding occur in London, some parts of Europe and parts of China. The earth is dying. Even the air stream is reported to have change direction.

South Korean over zealous missionaries is still in Taleban's hand. Noone knows whether they are still alive or not after the dateline for negotiation has passed.

Japan starts to run hybrid trains. It reminds me of a story in TV about a man who lives self-sufficiently in Morocco. He runs his housing complex using wind and solar power. He has one or two cow for milk production and some chicken to lay eggs. Vegetables are abundant in his own farm. Amazing :) My discussion with a friend of mine converged on the thought that human needs to get self-sufficient in the same line as fossil fuels are running short. I don't think alternative energy will be in time to cover up the loss of fossil fuels.

The island of Kalimantan in Indonesia is suspected to have some Uranium. Too bad the country has poor skill in extracting such mineral. The risk of stealing and illegal mining by foreign agents was underlined by one of the local miltary officer of Central Kalimantan recently. I think the risk is real. It should be quite easy for countries with proper stealthing equipment to enter into Indonesian territory. Although whether they can survive the magical ability of the tribal people or not is up to your guess and mine. There have been many reports and sightings on the unearthly skill of some Kalimantan tribes. Supernatural/ psychic skills of human are not to be underestimated :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Giant catfish anyone? Can last for quite some time huh? :P

Photo taken from National Geographic website. The fish can only be found in Mekong River. It seems that Mekong river basin hold quite a number of "monster" fishes.

Dominant and controlling leader

Some leaders are very dominant. Despites having some committee heads, they still want to control the workings of the committee and micro manage them. It's quite amazing to observe how these leaders pile job and job upon them. I don't think that's quite a healthy way of leading an organization. Micromanaging projects might let the leader miss out the big picture. Furthermore, at times the members would feel distrusted and discontent may easily brew.

A good leader should learn when to let go and when to hold a tight rein. It's definitely not easy to do that. It'd be good if the leader can identify experienced people from newbies as well. Experienced people should be sought for advice. That's why the Japanese organization are good in their successions. Highly experienced and skillful employees are trusted and provided with advancement. Leaders who distrust their employees and always hold tight control on everything are spelling their own project downfall and employee dissatisfaction.

Laptop and productivity

I wonder why my company never gives a lower rank employee such as me a laptop. At times when I am at home, work came into my mind and I might just get an idea to solve something. I am sure there are some other people who feel so. But then again, perhaps not having a laptop also gives me more non working life. Should be a good point I guess :P

Just that I am quite amazed by the gamble that many western companies take in allowing their employees to work from home. Depending on the willingness of the employee, such a step should increase the productivity.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just in time

Just-in-time aka lean manufacturing is quite tough apparently, when a disaster strike. Toyota reported that it has to slash 55,000 units of production due to the earthquake in Niigata. The disaster disrupts one of Toyota's part supplier. Due to the lean manufacturing process of using Pull system, inventory is at a very low level, meaning that no extra stocks will be available when material supply is disrupted.

Nevertheless, the system has allowed Toyota to gain far much competitive advantage compared to its competitor. Such disruption should have not been viewed as loss. I guess, true to the Toyota Way, Toyota will overcome and come out with some contingency plan for the future occurrence of such disruption of
parts supply. I read that Toyota, Honda, and Nissan sent 650 lean engineers to help the part supplier restart its production!! Amazing!

I think this is just a small feat achievable only by lean manufacturing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Various seminars on entrepreneurship in Singapore always look down on MBA and degree. The focus is on challenging yourselves and make money as much as you can without having to care about your background.

On the other hand, the corporate world seems to still stay at the MBA mindset. Most companies seem to rely heavily on the MBA graduates. Almost all giant corporations have training/ recruitment programme for MBA graduates. Not many openings seem to exist for engineer with so-so engineering skill.

No wonder many seem to end up in insurance, wishing to make quick bucks. :(

Unfortunately, not many seem to realize that insurance market in Singapore is already quite saturated. In bukit batok MRT for example, there is this favourite spot for insurance agency. Last month I saw Prudential, last week I saw AIA, this week another company. All use the same position and the same type of table and chairs. Amazing! Haha...


Failure and mistake happen on and off. The real challenge is to forgive ourselves and move on with better opinion of ourselves as we tackle and get above the past. The tendency to come out with excuse to shift blames to other people is too real. When we feel that we should not be blamed and we shifted the weight to other people, we tend to feel better for a short term but it doesn't solve anything.

The long term solution is to forgive ourselves for the mistakes, shift no blame to noone and move on learning from the mistakes.

The act of forgiving ourselves is far more difficult and challenging then just shifting blames to others.

Not that I advocate blaming ourselves for no reason. However, most of the time it's always easier to blame others and turn a blind eye on ourselves.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nothing to write

Nothing much to write lately. By the time I get back home and touch my computer, I have forgotten everything that happens hahaha..

But one thing I realize, working with people has never been easy. A simple dispute in a company can affect many people indirectly. Conflict management has not always been one of my virtue. I guess it's time to learn.

It also amazes me that very few project management people seem to consider value generated against the cost/ effort needed. Perhaps at times we, lower rank and file, need to poke the project managers and remind them that they need to consider us who are the one toiling endless hours for the projects and that a more complex project warrants for higher revenue.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Harry potter and star wars

I think there is a similarity between Harry Potter and Jedi. Hehehe... Basically, in Harry Potter: Order of Phoenix movie, Harry Potter looks very angry and near the ending, he was "possessed" by the dark lord. He has weak will to resist dark lord because he is just too angry. Sounds similar to the concept of Jedi being drawn to the dark side. :P

The movie does a superb representation of wicked Umbridge. She really looks like those evil mother-in-laws who wish nothing but destruction and yet smiling and behaving like some uber rich carefree women. Hahahaha.. The care taker is also shown to be really happy and enjoying the companion of Umbridge.

Nice show and nice broom race in London!

Education and what you might want to do

I feel that there is only one thing to do when one get into a university.

That is to set one's eye to a particular job, and hone oneself in a particular skill needed for that job. One can get all the mediocre grades in all sort of subjects but one must make sure one score well and understand the skills one wanna grab for the dream job.

Getting all A's and finding hard to get a job is quite a reality nowadays. Seen a few so far.

Job and education

Just met a friend from my faculty who is already jobless for a year. I wonder whether he is one of the considered outliers in the government and school's census saying that economy is picking up and graduates are getting jobs within 6 months of graduation.

The problem with university education nowadays is that it doesn't really teach industrial related skills. I find that most of the skills are really outdated. I asked around and my friends commented that they use probably, I reckon, 5-10% of what they learn in school. I guess university education is merely about getting the mindset then. Nevertheless, I do think that university needs to upgrade and update itself to the needs of the industry. Engineering faculty churning up students who end up working in insurance and banking industry are not doing justice to the society, especially when the manufacturing industries still need lots of manpower.

I confess that although I am graduated from a mechanical engineering school, I won't pass doing any complex drawing using engineering drawing software. I don't even understand tolerance pretty well despites all my good grades. Ouch.... Education really doesn't equate to proper jobs nowadays....

Friday, July 13, 2007

Price and government

Singaporeans are well known to rely heavily on government to handle many things. Complaints are rife once something need straighten up and the request is for government to come up with rule A, rule B, etc.

Little did I came to realize that Indonesians are the same, or even perhaps, worse. After enduring nearly one or two week of milk price increase, mobs start to organize protest to ASK government to control milk price. How the heck does the mobs expect a government to control milk price?? By manufacturing more milk powder and releasing it to the market to increase supply? I didn't realize that the government is a milk powder manufacturer. Hahaha.. Considering that corruption is so rife and tax evasion is daily activities in Indonesia, the populations really need to wake themselves up from their dreams of relying on government to do anything. After all, the money is mostlyh in the mobs anyway. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sneak preview

Some sneak of my friend's photography:

What I saw yesterday

1. A guy wearing a neat pink long sleeved shirt and pink dark-striped ties. Doh, so many self professed metrosexuals tend to prefer pink colour shirt with shortly trimmed hair. It makes them so feminine. ^^"
2. A 20 something lady wearing hipster with at least 1 cm of her buttock split showing up on top of the pants :S
3. An old lady wearing bright pink low cut blouse with pink shoes :S
4. A early 20s lady playing pink coloured NIntendo DS. Great product colour from Nintendo DS. The simple and funny games it has should have further strengthened the base of its woman customers.
5. Doh, forget about others hahaha..

Taxi woo

When I was in the CBD (Central Business District) around 9 pm, I saw only a few taxis with the sign "HIRED" and no empty taxi around. It reminded me of some letters in the newspaper complaining about the disappearance of taxi near midnight. As I got out of MRT station on my way back home, I realize why so few taxis are in sight in the CBD at 10 pm and above. So many taxis are queuing in the shopping mall waiting for passengers in the taxi stand of the shopping mall besides the MRT station. However, no passengers is actually in sight.

Perhaps due to the strain of working in night shift, to reward the night driver, Singapore government endorses a regulation to get commuters to pay extra if the taxi is taken at midnight. However, the regulation seems to have backfired. Instead of getting passengers in the CBD at 10 pm, most night taxi drivers prefer to loiter around not crowded area (Imagine waiting for passengers in residential area at near midnight) so that they can cash in and charge extra taking passengers after midnight. The argument for them is simple. Taking passenger from CBD at 10 pm will deprive them the chance to get passengers at that place around 12 pm, because they might still be on the way back to the CBD from residential area, so they prefer to wait around in far far away residential area. As you might have guessed, calling for taxis work if the taxi is near to the place you are calling from. If all taxis is in Boon Lay (west most MRT line), and you are calling from Raffles Place, no taxi will ever show up for you. Hehehe....

I wonder what makes those taxi drivers shun the CBD before 10 pm. Avarice perhaps? Can't they just simply take passengers from CBD at 10 pm? There must be a number of passengers whose house is < 1.5 hrs two way trip. The spirit of service seems very much beaten down by the avarice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Live earth and rubbish!!

Hahaha.. I just wrote about Live Earth and the energy it spent and then today I read in the news that critics are already picking bones with how much carbon each celebrity in the event actually emitted. It was reported that Madonna actually generated 100 times more polluting gases than average Britons. Hahahhahaha...

The news also showed the amount of styrofoam collected during the Live Earth event. Ouch... don't make me start to wonder why a green earth promoting event used styrofoam. Doh.. so brainless....

One thing I really wonder is why Singapore government haven't started putting recycle bin in level 1 of each HDB unit. The amount of waste paper generated per day via a HDB mailbox system is tremendous. I found on average a A4 total size of advertisement in my mailbox. On an on and off basis, some stores give a huge booklets of their advertisement that's usually went to rubbish as soon as I found it.. Collecting those waste papers in regular basis should cover the recycle bin cost, right? ^^"

Monday, July 9, 2007

Live earth - do they practice what they preach?

The live earth concert have so many celebrities that makes me wonder how much can be gathered if every one of them pledges to give just 1% of their income for green earth activities :P

But one other thing that I question is whether the event itself and the celebrities do what they preach. The event lasted 24 hours with so many electrical equipments wired that I bet it might just be equivalent to months of normal electricity supply needed by some remote village. It would be lovely if they can show that the electricity is supplied from green power source like solar or wind. Nevertheless, I don't think they use those power sources because if they do, they would have used it to hyped the messages further.

Not that I am an opponent of the concert. I am in fact a believer of energy conservation and pretty much a green activist in my own heart. I merely think that it's a shame for the organizer not to make the concert green :) A lost effort in that point of view.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Wow, it's hard to find really nice place for pre-wedding shot in Singapore. Went for a total of 6 hours, nice places are mainly urban. Of course, the Ficus tree in Sentosa is always a nice place. It seems to be a rather compulsory scene so far. Haha.. We even took a couple of shot in tooth relic buddhist temple in Chinatown. Main good ones are having urban high rise as the background. Really nice, but well... it's very much uniquely Singapore as well.

My photographer friend is quite good with lighting. Pretty hard to satisfy him by using a reflector. :S Hehe. but nice experience and nice pictures. WIll share some in future after post processing :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We like personal branding

Human loves personal branding. In fact, every single one of us have always known about personal branding, or even branding in a more general term.

How many of you have losers in your school years or even in your working life? How many wise men/women do you know? How many smart geniuses do youn know? How many "monkey", "dog", "frog", or whatsoever in your school days? I bet every one of us is capable of answering "yes" to one of the questions. The underlying fact is that personal branding or branding in general is not only separated with thin line with stereotyping. When you observe that you don't like your friend's way of walking, you call her a duck. You practicaly brand her as "DUCK". When you observe that your friend talk too much, you or your friend brand him as something else. When you see a wise men, you highly regarded him/her, perhaps. When I was in my high school, despite being ranked in top 5% at school, I was called name as one of the most stupid character in cartoons world. All those are practically personal branding that we attributed to someone.

Basically, we tend to be able to attribute someone to some words after some time. Those people are already branded. Simply compare the "branded" people with other branded goods/ person like Nike, Adidas, Gucci, Louis Vitton, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, etc. In your opinion, how difference are those two groups of goods/ people in terms of rememberance? I reckon you'd realize that you can remember those two groups, when their corresponding attributes are mentioned, equally well. This simple comparison should easily show you that personal branding is in fact, prevalent. Every single one of us tends to even subconciously brand ourselves as a certain someone. We tend to portray an ideal self of ours to get a certain image of social self (we as viewed by others), which tend to starkly differ from our true self. :)

All in all, I don't forgive branding people with ridiculous traits or names. I know their sufferings :P Spare them please and just see the positive side of theirs. :)

Ban of European airlines to land in Indonesia

Just few days ago, EU warned European to stop flying Indonesian airlines and that EU banned all Indonesian airlines from flying to European Union. The effect is said to have stopped a number of Europe tourists from leaving for Indonesia. Today, Indonesia government officials said that Indonesia is considering to ban EU's airlines to fly to Indonesia as a tit for tat move.

This is not the first time that I am amazed, to use a softer word, with the action of Indonesia govt officials' action. The ban of EU for Indonesian airlines is in fact a symbolic one. NONE of the airlines fly to EU anyway. The reason for not flying there might in fact lies in the fact that the plane might not even reach there safely. It doesn't make sense for the airline not to fly there if they are able to since there are huge number of European tourist visiting Indonesia per year. In fact, stated by Tourism Indonesia (http://www.tourismindonesia.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=580&Itemid=34)
, Europe market that used to make Indonesia one of its more popular holiday destinations has dropped after Garuda Indonesia stopped flying to Europe. Therefore, Garuda Indonesia IN FACT stopped flying there long before the ban. It's ridiculous.... The fact is that despite the poor service and age of aircraft, etc, Europeans USED the airlines long time ago.

Now, the tit for tat move to ban EU's airlines is clearly going to impact the number of Europe tourists hitting Indonesia further. I wonder whether the officials even think about who is at the bad end. The ban by EU is perhaps hurting the tourist arrival by a mere 20% while the ban of EU airlines might as well stop 99% of the EU tourists. The way some of the officials think are simply preposterous. Too often such words and actions are simply fueled by short-term and super short-sighted "nationalistic" view. I wonder whether it ever dawns on them that hurting the tourism industry, which fed so many poor people living from the already hurt tourism industry (due to terror), is against the nationalistic point-of-view, in the bottom line.

Politics are used to often in expense of the small folks in virtually all countries. Not a big wonder that some religious took it upon themselves to run the office. Not that I side with them. Mixing religion with politics will create another realm of problems. I don't want to talk about it here. It's simply too complicated. :P

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Human is a rather terrible creature. It just dawned upon me that it took a mere 80 years for human to wipe out the entire dodo species. Read about it in http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070703-dodo.html

The simple introduction of rat by the human immigrant to the stable ecology where dodo lives has partly caused the extinction. And global warming is causing an ongoing extinction in many parts of the worlds. Reported by the national geographic, some of the ancient arctic lakes supporting a unique ecosystem is drying u and the organisms in the lakes are nowhere to be found.

We really need to play our part in reducing the global warming. Simple action like using less styrofoam and showering for a shorter duration can contribute towards a better environment. A million people using 1 less styrofoam per week per person signifies 4 million less styrofoam per year. That's a huge number, isn't it?

Internet, you, and your money

In the internet age, information is at our fingertips. Unfortunately, not many consumers are able to gather the appropriate information to aid their purchase decision. I just saw some pre-wedding photos taken by a so-called professional photographer. Unfortunately, the photo looks very much amateur to me >< Doh, the lighting is terrible. I wonder why my friend's friend is willing to pay the photographer S$3,500 to have such an ugly photo taken.. Why don't they take a short time to browse the net for photographer's website and get an idea how pre-wedding photo can look like, the better ones of course.

I am going to help my photographer friend to do some of the shoots later. I hope I can help him with the styling. I'd show some of the processed photo when it's done.

Photo-editing software is so much advance nowadays that refusing to work with it sounds like refusing to use gas stove to cook and decide to use coal instead. After all, the photo-editing software only builds up on the high quality photo taken by the photographer. A photo with improper colour composition can't be magically changed into an award winning photo despite using sepia or grayscale tone. Hehe...

I hope I can push my friend with the photography work. At least, there is a channel for me to improve my soft side. :P

Jobs and overtime

It never quite dawns upon me why there is even a need for people do some overtime in their working life. I saw people toiling away their lives in the office, involved in seemingly unending flow of work. I am confused on why it can happen.

I keep wondering what makes a company have a lot of employees who are working over time. Does that mean that the process is not right such that the wastage of time is abundant? Does it mean that the company is simply understaffed? Does it mean that the employee is slow? Does it mean that the company is trying to employ slaves to boost up margin? Unfortunately, somehow it seems like the erring point is at the company.... Process can always be improved, margin can always be improved without sacrificing the employee's time and pay, and so on. However, it's difficult to get the entire company to put effort in improving the business process unless some top management guys are openly supporting the changes.

A middle manager and lower ranked employee can't do much to improve processes without clear mandate from the boss. I think ideal company should manage its employees time well such that extra time are available for the employees to embark on ad hoc projects to improve the company's overall work and life satisfaction. Too often that in order to achieve short-term profit, employees are forced to work overtime without extra pay, with low pay, and/or in terrible working environment. It should be difficult for such company to survive if the employees are feeling the burden daily and no time and effort are put to improve the processes, procedures, and even on the business development side. After all, if you keep chasing the dangled carrot in front of your eyes, you won't be able to see what's at the side and your concentrated focus on the carrot will cause you to bump to the walls in front of you.

Continuous improvement on a company's process is mandatory and innovative solution and working environment needs to be fostered if a company wishes to remain competitive. However, if majority of the employees are kept busy on their work without much room for creativity to wiggle, it's pretty hard to imagine the company to succeed in the long term.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Seen www.starbucked.com? Hehehe.. it's a website created by a man who was practically starbucked. He encountered such a disappointment in Starbucks' service that he set up an anti-corporation website by his own money just to make sure he put his point clear. He has changed into a brand assassin.

I wonder about the number of brand assassin in Singapore. I have not been able to advocate any single brand although I have been exposed to quite a number of them in Singapore. After all, Singapore is a global city where most corporations seem to set up HQ here. Yet, despites the enormous amount of branded goods here, the service of salesperson and call center in Singapore is not great. I still recall how many times salespersons caused me to swear not to buy from shops. There have also been so many stories from friends on how restaurant waiter/ waitresses non-chalantly treat the diners as if the restaurant is paying the diners to dine there!!

The outrageous part of the service in Singapore is that there has been many calls for the customers to behave themselves before asking the service providers to provide good service. Now, who is the most affected party in this supposedly mutual business relationship? I would like to argue that it's the business units who are supposed to provide great services before they can expect loyalty, advocacy, and excellent attitude from their customers. The customers came with a certain expectation and that expectation should be met if the business would like to have a repeat business. Only by extending hands to the customers, can a company creates civilized customers and generate more profit.

Monday, July 2, 2007

There is something about statistics

Statistics is used everywhere to justify company policies. The challenge on using statistics is to learn not to torture the data. Amazingly, when one has some data, statistics is always use to make the data confess a particular response that the user would like to see. Once the user find something extraordinary (that he/she doesn't like), methods of regrouping, taking out the so-called outliers, etc will be employed to "smooth" the data and ta-daaa... the data analysis will produce something that the user would love to see...

Amazingly, although we know it's not so wise to torture the data, we still do it. Countless of times, I saw it happening, not only in academic scene, but more so in corporate scene. It's just very hard to see that the initial data analysis does not produce something we want.

But, do we really ever do a 5-why analysis on why the data looks wrong or why A is higher although it should be lower? Instead of fiddling with statistics to produce the "wanted" result, perhaps additional analysis (that MAKES SENSE) or simply letting the data as it is is wiser. As my friend said, "Data does not lie". Perhaps there is genuine explanation to the seemingly bewildering scene. It just that when we torture the data, the explanation will almost be definitely overlooked.